Peter Firth received his only Oscar nomination so far for portraying Alan Strang in Equus.
I must say that there certainly is a problem with just how bad the film is because every time I watch the film again all of the performances just impress me less and less as I see them as basically a victim to their awful film. The film wants Firth to be constantly troubled so he is giving the same "I'm troubled" look for most of the film. Although it is technically not incorrect or poorly done by the third time I see it it holds absolutely no emotional impact for me.
Firth is required to do a whole lot in the part and is forced into some awkward scenes, and no I am not referring to his buck naked scenes. I am more referring to when he recounts his first encounter with a horse where he seems to be playing himself at a very young age though Firth looks exactly the same. Firth shows some clear effort but he is unable to make the scene seem any less awkward than it is.
Firth does not stop there though having his worship scenes particularly the one at night where he whips himself. Firth in these scenes certainly shows a striking passion, a passion to what though is the question. There is always a disconnection, and Firth although shows the passion the film is lacking in its ability to make it seem meaningful in any actual fashion.
I really felt this way about the entire characterization of Strang. Firth is technically correct in his portrayal of obsession, as well as Alan's inescapable pain, but it just never quite amounts to anything moving or even completely emotionally convincing. Firth always stays as a bit of a victim of his the terrible film he is in. He never is bad, but this performance never really impresses me for a moment despite his many efforts.